Andrew Breitbart: 1969-2012

March 01, 2012

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Andrew Breitbart: 1969-2012

It’s stressful to be hated. It goes against our instincts. We want to be loved. But Andrew Breitbart was different. He relished his enemies and laughed when they threatened him. He wasn’t scared of conflict. He thought it was fun. He was, as Greg Gutfeld put it, “The bravest person I ever met.”

When I was on Greg’s show Red Eye with Breitbart we were asked what we thought of Trump sponsoring a GOP debate. Greg and I had the knee-jerk reaction of scoffing at the whole thing. When Breitbart asked us what was so funny we said, “Well, it’s obviously just some rich guy showboating.” Then he taught me a word I never really paid attention to before: “So?”

This word defines Breitbart to me more than any other. At a bar one night I was whining about the allegation that all libertarians are funded by the Koch brothers. “So?” he replied. Andrew didn’t play the PC left’s game. Libertarians don’t get magical checks from the Koch brothers, but so what if they did? George Soros spends billions paying people he likes. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.

“You don’t act defeated when someone such as Andrew Breitbart dies, you fight.”

Another evening we were both arguing with someone who still believed government can create jobs. She was from Madison and like all liberals there, she saw Governor Scott Walker as a union-busting thug who hated the working man. I explained that Walker’s privatization created way more jobs than the government did and she said, “Yeah, but they were all just tourism jobs.” Breitbart ended the whole argument with, “So?”

What a word. It’s only two letters but it shows the PC left they’ve never thought past the silly hysteria that surrounds their accusations. Oil companies have had record profits this year. So? That’s what they’re supposed to do. Up in Canada, my father has been fighting with the local schoolboard because they are hiring fundamentalist Muslims as guidance counselors. The trustee in charge of the program said my father’s comments could be construed as anti-Islamic and I was surprised to see him explain why they are not. “You need to learn Breitbart’s magic word,” I said in an email. “When she calls you anti-Islamic, say, ‘So?’” This was yesterday.

I once asked Andrew where it all came from. Where did he get the hubris to take on the whole world? “I woke up one day,” he told me, smiling with a drink in his hand (despite accusations, he didn’t do drugs), “and I said, ‘What Would Andrew Do?’ From that day forward I did whatever I wanted and said exactly what was on my mind.” His boldness was contagious. Days after meeting him you catch yourself strutting down the street with your chest puffed-out yelling, “So?” at everyone who has a problem. 

This is precisely why he was so popular. He made us all feel fearless. For all the petty enemies who called him everything from a homophobe to a faggot, there were a hundred supporters inspired by his bravery. I never saw him even slightly bothered by accusations and even flattery left him unfazed. Once, when a sycophantic colleague parroted Breitbart’s feelings on some random subject, Andrew shrugged and said, “And? You want me to say something glib now?” This made me laugh so hard I convulsed and hit my head on the table because it was totally unexpected. Who calls bullshit on flattery?

The only time I saw him care what anyone thought was when his daughter was mad at him. He was in trouble because he left on a business trip without telling her exactly when he was leaving and exactly when he was coming back. That was one of her rules and he had broken it. “It’s different being in the doghouse with a kid,” he told me before calling her to beg for forgiveness. “With an adult, even your wife, you think, ‘Yeah, go ahead be mad at me, I don’t care.’ Even when you’re wrong. You can’t be like that with a kid.” Then he left the room and talked to his daughter for so long I almost left. When he came back, I asked him how it went and he said, “I think we’re good” while pensively staring at his phone.

Thomas Paine once wrote, “He who dares not offend cannot be honest” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s what Andrew Breitbart was all about. When a journalist accused him of carefully editing an NAACP speech to make a black woman look racist, Andrew relentlessly hammered the guy and proved it was the media who had cherry-picked the quote. When the liberal media was hemming and hawing about rape accusations at OWS, Breitbart ran up to the protestors and screamed, “STOP RAPING PEOPLE” in their faces. You don’t forget a guy like that.

I was on an anarchist hippie farm this summer and was surprised to see Oriana Fallaci books on the shelf. She was a conservative, but she was also a crusader for truth. Henry Kissinger famously said talking to her was “the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press.” It’s not her politics that has her sitting on bookshelves four decades after that interview, it’s her courage. I talked to Breitbart about this on Dennis Miller’s radio show and we both agreed history best remembers the ones who had it worst. I told him he would be remembered forever because he made sure he had a tough time. He ended the interview with, “I hope you’re having a tough time, too,” and I’d like to add that I hope we all are. If there’s one thing we can learn from this man, it’s that the tough have to get going. He inspired us all to stop living in a culture of fear and fight for what’s important: our families, our country, and our culture. I am proud to have known Andrew for the brief moment I did, and his children should be proud of the legacy he left in such a short time.

Tonight, I’m not going to mourn him. I’m going to go out with friends, get drunk, and talk about all his accomplishments. You don’t act defeated when someone such as Andrew Breitbart dies, you fight.

(UPDATE: Gavin has designed and is selling “SO?” T-shirts and is giving 100% of the proceeds to Andrew Breitbart’s family.)

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